Wallabi's Farm: The English Hototogisu Bakery and Farm Blog

Hello, my name is Sara. In 2005 my husband and I bought an old farmhouse in Okayama, borrowed a few fields and set to building ourselves a pleasant rural life. Now, several years on, we have fields a-plenty, what was until the end of 2012 a wheaty bread bakery and is now prepping to be a gluten-free space, and have incorporated our efforts into the Hototogisu Bakery and Farm. Welcome!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Recent Activities

Finally, a rainy day to allow a bit of a break from manual labor. It is a very satisfying feeling to see all that we have accomplished at the end of a very physical day, but...a break every now and then is good too. Recently we've been putting a lot of time into the blueberry field, as well as the never-ending spring/summer chores of weeding, weedeating and for Shuzo, tractoring. In the blueberry field, we found that the straw and leaf mulch wasn't doing much to control the weeds, and is not fibrous enough last long. Over the last week or so we have pulled it all off and moved most of it to the garden, replacing it with shredded wood mulch from the garden waste recycling place down the road. Since both woody material and leaves go in a big pile together, it is a nice blend of well- and less-well-broken-down organic material - hopefully just right for the job. Here is Shuzo returning with one of the nine or ten truckloads of mulch.

And here is Shuzo unloading mulch, ninja style:

Sara unloading mulch (rather more effectively):

And, for a change of pace, Sara and her baked goods. I spent from 5AM until 1PM yesterday in the kitchen making these - there are cinnamon rolls, bagels, mulitgrain sandwich rolls, rye-currant rolls and white sandwhich bread. This is bakery pratice; for the next few months I'll be baking one batch each of 5 types of bread a week to refine the recipes and delivering it to a few friends who will (hopefully!) give honest feedback. Since the bakery is not yet built, I am using our regular kitchen equipment, and the size of each batch is limited by the mixer and oven capacity. Hopefully commercial equipent will allow us to make more bread in the same amount of time, greatly increasing our efficiency. Until then, it is just as well that I can't make much, because I' not selling home made bread to stores and would be hard pressed to dispose of much more bread than I made yesterday.

Monday, May 14, 2007


***now, updated with pictures! or at any rate, a link to pictures (click on the title), so you can see what a mukade is and how big they get. ick!***

Eeewwwwwwww!!! Really. I do not think I am too very squeamish ordinarily, but - eeewwwwwwww! The bug season is here, as announed by the icky icky MUKADE IN THE SINK! Mukade being, for those of you who do not live in Japan, centipedes. Poisonous centipedes. Large poisonous centipedes that give painful bites. This one was about 3 inches long and hard to exterminate. I'll admit my extreme wimpiness and tell you that I called Shuzo in to deal with it, after my attempts to slow it down by spraying it with everything under the sink turned out to be not so effective - not too surprising, perhaps, as everything under the sink was one bottle of soap water, one of cleaning alcohol and a jug of vinegar. Shuzo was clearing weeds, so came in with the hoe in his hand and was able to pin the centipede down, but not crush it. Boiling water finally did the trick. Eeeewwww! I have just looked it up, though, in an attempt to find you a picture, and can now share the reassuring knowledge that there is only one centipede caused death on record. Good to know.